Triumph Live 20th Anniversary Celebration

Can you believe the "new" Triumph is 20 years old?

By Roland Brown, Photography by Roland Brown

Hinckley Hits...

Trophy 1200, 1991
Triumph's powerful sport-touring four was a superb debut model, competitive against the mighty Kawasaki ZX-11 and the rest. It made 125 horsepower with lots of midrange, and its steel-framed chassis gave sound handling.

Trident 900, 1991
Removing the sport model's fairing gave a naked Trident triple that came in two sizes: long-stroke 900 and short-stroke 750. The larger model was quick, torquey and sweet-handling, the smaller one less impressive.

Daytona 1200, 1993
The big, yellow four had its 1180cc motor tuned to give 145 bhp, in John Bloor's defiant gesture to the UK importer's 125-bhp limit. The big Daytona was a bit crude, but good fun all the way to 160 mph.

Tiger 900, 1993
Triumph's modular format stretched as far as an adventure-tourer, whose 885cc triple was detuned to 84 bhp. An unchanged frame plus long-travel suspension and trail tires made a useful road-biased "trailie."

Speed Triple, 1994
The original Speed Triple was essentially a Daytona 900 with its fairing removed, and with a five-speed (instead of six) gearbox in an otherwise unchanged 97-bhp motor. The modern-day café racer's raw character hit the spot.

Thunderbird 900, 1995
Released in time to lead Triumph's return to the States, Hinckley's first retro model combined its softly tuned, 69-bhp triple with high bars, "mouth-organ" tank badge, heavily finned motor and a laid-back character.

T595 Daytona, 1997
Hinckley's first purpose-built sportbike proved the British could build a competitive superbike. The classy 955cc Daytona combined its 128-bhp triple with a sweet-handling aluminum chassis. The misleading T595 designation was soon dropped.

T509 Speed Triple, 1997
Three years after the original Speed Triple came the aluminum-framed T509. With its bug-eye headlights, it captured the essence of a naked sportbike perfectly and earned a cult following. Its T509 nomenclature was likewise soon dropped.

Sprint ST, 1998
Triumph bolted a 955cc triple into the firm's first alloy beam-framed chassis to create a brilliant sport-tourer. Imagine the joy at Hinckley when prestigious German magazine Motorrad rated it ahead of Honda's VFR! Later, the ST was stripped down to create the Sprint RS.

Bonneville, 2001
The 790cc, air-cooled Bonnie resembled a late-'60s T120, down to the two-tone paint and "eyebrow" tank badge. Its 61 bhp and 450 lbs. made it no quicker than the old model, but that didn't prevent it from being a hit.

Rocket III, 2004
Triumph's growing confidence was shown by the outrageous Rocket III, whose 2.3-liter, 140-bhp longitudinal triple boasts motorcycling's biggest purpose-built engine. A sound chassis made the Rocket fun rather than scary to ride.

Daytona 675, 2006
After years of struggle to produce a competitive middleweight four, Triumph got it right with the unique and brilliant Daytona 675 triple, which matched the Japanese 600s for performance and was voted Motorcyclist's Motorcycle of the Year.

...And A Few Misses

Daytona 1000, 1991
Triumph's modular format meant the sporty Daytona shared most of its engine parts and its steel frame with the softer models, so there was no way the 119-bhp four could be competitive with purpose-built supersports.

Daytona Super 3, 1993
Cosworth Engineering tuned the 885cc engine to give 113 bhp, and chassis mods included multi-adjustable Kayaba forks, six-pot calipers and carbon cans. But the price was high, and it was still no match for a Honda CBR900RR.

TT600, 2000
Beating the Japanese 600cc fours would have been difficult enough with a bike that ran flawlessly, so the TT600's low-rev flat spot gave it no chance. Its Daytona 600 successor was stylish and sorted, but still not quite quick enough.

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